The curious ‘bookstore’ around the corner

July 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

There’s a unusual storefront tucked in the alleys of Da’an district. At first glance, it looks like a bookstore, with the large floor-to-ceiling windows and piles of books. If you stop to take a good look, it more closely resembles a deserted storage room with endless mounds of books that extend deep into the space. I have never seen anyone enter or leave during the few times I’ve walked past it.

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Love Note #22: Celebrating the Diversity of Taiwan’s Streetscapes

July 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

Love this! Written by my old coworker William 🙂

Taipei Love Notes

To those of us living in Taiwan, the streetscapes don’t usually attract too much of our attention. Simply because, to us, it is already a deeply embedded part of our everyday lives.

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While discussion about the look of Taiwan’s cities and streets have been around for quite some time, the level of engagement was never as intense as in the past few days, when the cover photo of the Japanese magazine Brutus’s special edition on Taiwan triggered a fierce debate about Taiwan’s streetscapes.

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To be honest, I can’t stop feeling a bit frustrated by those who try to criticize every aspect of Taiwan’s streetscape like it is the ugliest thing they’ve ever seen. For anyone who has spent enough time in Taiwan, it is not hard to figure out the repetitive pattern of Taiwan’s streetscape: dangling wires, protruding store signs and lines of scooters parked right by the sidewalk. Even…

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Little succulent joys from work

October 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’ve always dreamed of telling people that I have a green thumb. That I have the capability of creating a stunning garden that is fit for a full-page spread in Better Homes and Gardens magazine one day.

The truth is I haven’t REALLY had much experience taking care of plants. Growing up, I would occasionally help my parents water the tiny flowerbed in the backyard of our Miami home. There was an abundance of sunshine and water, and the vegetation grew as if someone placed an Engorgement Charm on it. As an adult, I like having green plants around the house, but usually opting for durable houseplants, like aloe or philodendron heartleaf, that don’t die easily from negligent care. To be fair, my small Taipei apartment hardly gets any natural light. Even my mother, who is a self-claimed gardening guru, has difficultly keeping plants alive in the apartment. Since moving in, I’ve kept away from plants and gardening, wistfully thinking that I’ll get another shot of it in a not-too-distant-future, when I find a new apartment that has more space and sunlight.

I stumbled across a tiny succulent nursery near Dahu park (大湖公園) during a family outing back in April. My inner-hipster immediately fell in love with the succulents and all the wondrous colors and variety that they come in. The small ones cost about NT. 50-100 (USD $1.50 – $3), a fair price. I decided to get 4 – two for my mom, and one each for myself and my boyfriend.

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These succulents made me super happy

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The storefront – succulent paradise

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We brought these four home

Succulents are considered low-maintenance. Idiot proof even. The instructions I received were to water them once a week and make sure they receive a lot of sunlight. Easy right?

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This is just a post about GIFs and why I like them

June 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

There’s no nice way to put it. I’m having a pretty shitty few days. This GIF is for the for my shitty feelings that I’ve been dealing with:

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One of my favorite GIFs in the world

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for over two months. It could have joined the graveyard of unfinished posts but I am determined to resurrect it from the dead. GIFs hold a special place in my heart mostly because they are such excellent forms of expressing and convey emotions. This also gives me a chance to share some of my favorite GIFs in existence.

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Future Me Is an Idiot, and I’m an Asshole

June 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Story of my life

Postcard #9 Wellington Lights from Mt Victoria, or The Architecture of Happiness

March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

This post first appeared on “The Postcard Chronicles

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The Architecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations”

For the past several weeks, I’ve been slowly digesting Alain de Botton’s beautiful prose in The Architecture of Happiness. The book was made popular after making an appearance in 500 days of Summer, when Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character decides to rededicate his passion in architecture. I picked up the book by chance, after reading another de Botton book, On Love, which was filled with thought-provoking quotes on love. This book is a combination of philosophical tibits, aesthetics theory and art history concepts, all deeply intertwined. Though I’m only half-way through, it has spurred some sporadic thoughts that I thought I’d share.

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Exploring Taiwan: Real-life Spirited Away & Houtong Cat Village

February 20, 2015 § 1 Comment

Kicking off the new year’s goal of exploring more of Taiwan, Matthew and I have decided to take a weekend trip to the famed Jiufen (九份), the inspiration behind Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ and Houtong (侯硐), an old coal mining village that became a haven for stray cats. It was a relief to leave Taipei and get some fresh air. The train ride was an hour away and only costed NT.50 (about USD $2), which makes me question myself why I don’t go out into the outside world more.

Jiufen was an old gold mining town that prospered back during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. The town is tucked into the mountains and enjoys a stunning view of the Pacific ocean. The small area meant that the buildings are densely built, narrow roads and alleys that winds around the mountainous town.

I highly recommend exploring Jiufen at night. Mostly because you can avoid the throngs of tourists that visit during the daytime but also because the night scenes were significantly more interesting.

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Nighttime exploring

The quietness of the town at night was slightly eerie and surreal. Besides the random passerby or two, we didn’t come across anyone during our nighttime exploration. It felt like a ghost town, especially with the dilapidated structures and the endless rows of graves. The nighttime sounds that you grow accustomed to hearing in the city, scooters, neighbor arguments, tv sets, were nonexistent. Instead, you heard the ocean breeze and the occasional crickets chirping.

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Jiufen’s characteristic red lanterns and long winding alleys. Lights on, but no one in sight

After walking through numerous dark alleys and narrow staircases, we stumbled across this brightly lit tea house:

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The famous Japanese tea house #themoneyshot

It was just like a scene out of Spirited Away. The dark town backdrop just highlighted the bright building even more, absolutely stunning to look at.

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